I talked yesterday about spending Sundays at my grandma’s when I was growing up. My grandma opened her house not just to her entire family, but to whoever was important to them, as well. Over the years, there were countless friends that graced her Sunday table, and holidays were no exception. Not long after I graduated from college, one of my mom’s best friends lost her husband. For a few years, she and her son would spend Thanksgiving with our family. Each year, she would bring this dessert salad as her contribution to the holiday meal. My grandma was the queen of ambrosia, and this was very similar, so I naturally loved it. It was one of those dishes that I always remembered, and I finally asked my mom if she could get the recipe from her friend.
As I mentioned, this reminded me a lot of my grandma’s classic ambrosia salad, with a few different variations. This dessert salad starts with marinating miniature marshmallows with crushed pineapple overnight. A basic custard mixture is made with pineapple juice and is also refrigerated overnight. The next day, the two are mixed together, along with fresh apples, peanuts and some Cool Whip to bring it all together. I love the crunch of the fresh apples, the salty peanuts, and of course the pineapple and marshmallows!
While ambrosias aren’t the fanciest of desserts, they are total dessert comfort food, and a great light dessert alternative after a heavy meal. This one in particular reminds me of how holidays are about coming together to celebrate family and friendships.
Drain the juice from the can of pineapples into a small saucepan; set aside.
In a medium bowl, stir together the remaining crushed pineapple and the miniature marshmallows. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In the small saucepan with the pineapple juice, add the sugar, flour, vinegar and egg, and whisk together. Place the pan over medium heat and cooking, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until the mixture thickens and reaches 170 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, add the pineapple and marshmallow mixture to the custard, then stir in the chopped apples and peanuts. With a rubber spatula, fold in the Cool Whip until completely combined. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until serving. Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 3 days.